READING ALOUD WITH
While connecting experience to language is an important foundation for
learning to read, giving children direct contact with books is equally
important. In fact, the single most important activity for building the
knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to
When adults read aloud, children quickly learn that a book is a wonderful
thing. When an adult happily reads aloud to children and reads stories
that delight both the adult and the children, the experience can be
magical. Often adults relive the joys of stories that were important in
childhood and pass those special stories on to the next generation. The
children bask in the warmth and intimacy of sharing a book with a loved
adult. Even if children do not fully understand the story or poem being
read, they may enjoy simply hearing the tone and cadence of the adult's
voice, and they will naturally learn about the nature of stories and the
structure of language.
There is more to reading to children than just saying the words. Reading
aloud is a social event, a shared activity in which children are
encouraged to ask questions and talk about a story. A story may be the
jumping off point for great discussions. For example, what would your
children say if
you asked, "Why did the hare think he could get away with sleeping on
the side of the road?" Pointing out the connections between the story
and your children's own lives is also important. Comparing Peter Rabbit
and Benjamin Bunny of Beatrix Potter fame with the rabbit you saw at the
pet store, at the zoo, or in the woods will help your child distinguish
between real and make-believe.
It is not so much who reads with children but rather that someone does it
regularly and with joy.
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.
(1993). Reading aloud with preschoolers. In M. Lopes (Ed.) CareGiver
(April, p.4). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Cooperative